“American Hustle”

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Irving Rosenfeld: “We were so successful for so long because we kept it just small enough.

As the year wraps up and award season quickly approaches, I have been trying to catch up on most of the films that have been nominated for various awards. It’s a great time for movie fans, as theatres have given us several options this holiday season.

In fact box-office numbers are on the rise for Hollywood. 2013 will close with an $11 billion haul, which is about 1 percent higher than last year. Ticket prices have increased which helped the dollar amount increase, but attendance in general has remained flat. Movies such as 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Saving Mr. Banks, Anchorman 2, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and many more have given movie fans a variety of genres to sink their teeth into.

The most recent film that I watched was “American Hustle.” The film is directed by David. O Russell who directed “Silver Linings Playbook,” which needless to say was a fantastic film. This time Russell brings back the core group of actors from “SLP” which includes Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert De Niro. If that isn’t good enough for you, then Russell takes it a step further and adds Christian Bale, Amy Adams, and Jeremy Renner in “American Hustle.”

“American Hustle” is a about a con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive British partner, Sydney Prosser played by Amy Adams. This dynamic couple is forced to work for a erratic FBI agent, Richie DiMaso played by Bradley Cooper. DiMaso pushes the con-couple into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia, not knowing what he’s getting himself into.

David O. Russell delivers a vibrant directorial effort in this film. He adds a unique mix of modern/old views of the city, all while making sure the comedy remains steady throughout the film. The camera angles are slick, and the dialogue is written and delivered perfectly. It’s the little things that count in films like these, and you can see the finer details shine through.

While the story is entertaining, the cast is what drives the film to what we now know has seven Golden Globe nominations.

“American Hustle,” does stem around the word “hustle.” The film takes an enjoyable route into the world of New Jersey’s mafia driven culture. The lead role of Irving Rosenfeld is played by Christian Bale, and I can’t emphasize how great he is in the film. The opening scene shows a stylish looking man with a gut and major hair piece issues. For a moment you don’t even recognize Bale is the sloppy mess you’re seeing on screen.  In fact Russell stated that Robert De Niro didn’t recognize Christian Bale on the set even after they were introduced to each other. De Niro pulled Russell aside, pointed to Bale and asked who he was. De Niro said ‘Wow, he looks really different”, and nodded his head as a sign of approval. Russell then had to re-introduce the two after the conversation took place. 935381-american-hustle

Bale gained over 40 pounds, got a comb-over and slouched his posture all for the role. You ask why this bit of information is relevant? Bale ended up herniating two of his disks in the process…. I really love method actors.

Bale immediately captures your attention, and as a viewer you never look back.

Jennifer Lawrence plays Rosalyn Rosenfeld, Irving’s wife. Lawrence who is just 23 years old and already has one Oscar in her trophy case, plays a fantastic role in this one. Lawrence adds a significant amount of humor, as she plays a free-spirited but loving wife. Russell has given her an effective role in which she accomplishes her goal of driving everyone crazy.

Jeremy Renner is another great addition to the cast. Renner plays Mayor Carmine Polito, a beloved Mayor who grew up in the city of Trenton. He’s so loved by the people that nobody expects him to do anything wrong. He’s a smart man who just wants to bring jobs to New Jersey. A proposal is given to him in which hundreds of jobs will be brought to Jersey through the expansion of Atlantic City. He also is a guy who bases his decisions on trust. If you can win his trust over, you have his attention. Irving does just that, and little does Polito know what he’s getting himself into. Renner plays the role so well, you actually feel bad he’s getting wrapped up in a messy situation.

The best cameo of all is seeing Robert De Niro grace the screen. His role is extremely short, but seeing him play a mafia leader again is AWESOME. De Niro has been hit or miss since his classic days with Scorsese, but Russell does a good job reprising his gangster role in “American Hustle.”

I would highly suggest you give “American Hustle” a shot during this busy movie season. I promise you I am not trying to con you into watching this film.

Trivia for you movie buffs via IMDB:

The fight scene that takes place in the bedroom between Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence is completely improvised. A version of it had been written in the script, but the actors were struggling to connect with it, so the director ultimately decided to allow them to say what they wanted.

According to Christian Bale much of the movie was improvised. So, during the shooting of the film he noted to David O. Russell, “You realize that this is going to change the plot greatly down track.” To which the director replied, “Christian, I hate plots. I am all about characters, that’s it.”

Filming of this movie was delayed after the terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon. Bradley Cooper, ‘Jeremy Renner, Christian Bale and Amy Adams went to hospitals in the greater Boston area to visit with victims of the attack.

The film is a fictionalized telling of the ABSCAM scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s, an FBI operation that began as an investigation of trafficking in stolen property, but was later expanded to include political corruption.

David O. Russell wrote the part of Rosalyn Rosenfeld specifically for Jennifer Lawrence to play. Russell also had Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner in mind for their respective characters and approached each of them about the roles before he even had finished writing the script.

Director Ben Affleck was originally considered to direct but he dropped out to direct an adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Stand”

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